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Issawi: My detention is malicious

April 22, 2013 5:58 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2013 10:16 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- After 265 days on hunger strike, Samer Issawi on Monday told an Israeli judge that he will not take liquids and will boycott future court sessions at a hearing in Kaplan Medical Center.

"I was sentenced by a Jerusalem court to eight months which ended in March, so I don't see any reason to be detained. Your detention is malicious and I don't recognize your committee, nor the procedures you take against me," Issawi told the judge in a weak voice, his lawyer Jawad Boulos said.

An Israeli magistrates court sentenced Issawi to eight months in jail on Feb. 21 for leaving Jerusalem in alleged violation of the terms of his release in an Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange. The sentence expired in March as it included time served since Issawi's re-arrest in July 2012, but Issawi remains in detention as an Israeli military committee is trying to cancel Issawi's amnesty and reinstate the sentence issued in 2002.

Monday's hearing was held in a hall near Issawi's hospital room. He was escorted by a doctor and his sister Shireen.

Boulos said the hospital had been turned into a fortress by Israeli police and security. A group of peace activists and anti-Issawi protesters gathered outside, but police prevented friction between the groups.

Issawi's doctor told the court that medics were very concerned as the prisoner has stopped taking vitamins and supplements and refuses to undergo any medical tests.

The judge asked the doctor why Issawi was not being forced to eat, Boulos said. The doctor told the judge: "This would be inhumane, and as doctors we ethically can't do it."

Issawi will boycott future hearings, scheduled for May 9, May 12 and May 26, and will not recognize any decision by the court which he considers illegitimate, his sister Shireen told Ma'an.

Boulos said the court hearings would be held without Issawi's presence.

Boulos, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners Society, said Israel had still not presented any official offer to end Issawi's strike, despite numerous reports of proposals including exile and a shortened sentence.

"The so-called negotiation team met with Samer this morning and discussed several suggestions, but no official Israeli position was proposed to Samer," Boulos said.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society is still waiting for an official Israeli position after several meetings between Israeli negotiators and Issawi, he added.

Issawi insists on being released to his home in Jerusalem.

Shireen Issawi, a lawyer, also said Israel had not presented any official offers to release her brother.

Israeli guards did not allow Issawi's mother to see her son at the hearing on Monday, his sister said.

"One of the soldiers verbally assaulted her and said he would not shoot Samer in the foot or hand if he had the chance, but rather in the heart to deprive her of Samer," Shireen added.

She said Issawi was like a skeleton but that his spirit was strong.
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